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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 24, 1994
                           HHS ADMINISTRATOR 

The President today announced his intention to nominate Nelba R. Chavez Ph.D, 53, of San Francisco as administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) in the Department of Health and Human Services.

"Dr. Chavez's broad range of experiences in the areas of mental health and substance abuse will provide valuable perspective in addressing these problems," the President said. "Her dedication to these issues will be a great benefit in her new position."

Chavez has served as director of the Juvenile Probation Services for the city and county of San Francisco since January 1991. During 1989-1990, she headed Chavez and Associates, providing consultant and training services in behavioral health and substance abuse prevention.

Her other professional experiences include work as the Director of the Catholic Youth Organization day camps in Los Angeles; the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the La Fronterra Clinic, a Tuscon-based comprehensive community mental health center; and a member of the President's Commission on Mental Health and the White House Prevention Committee for a Drug- Free America. Her writings on mental health have focused on Mexican-Americans and other minorities. She has received a number of honors for her work and leadership.

At SAMHSA, Chavez will direct activities of the U.S. Public Health Service agency that provides national leadership in policy and services for mental health, alcohol and other prevention and treatment. SAMHSA carries out its functions primarily through the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, the Center for Substance Abuse treatment and the Center for Mental Health Services.

Chavez was born in Tucson, Arizona. She received a bachelor's in sociology/psychology from the University of Arizona in 1963; a master's in social welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1971; and a doctorate in philosophy/social work from the University of Denver in 1975.